Sunday Notebook: Big Game for Nova

Rutgers football is 7-0 and climbing the rankings after its latest victory over Temple. The morning after his 35-10 victory, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood spoke with the media on his weekly teleconference to break down the fourth Big East win of the year.

Facing the two biggest deficits of the season against Arkansas and Temple, Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova stepped up with the two best performances of his career. Winning is not new to Nova, a two-time national champion in high school, but doing it on the college level is new.

In wins over Arkansas and Temple, Nova has 629 passing yards and nine touchdowns. As opposed to his freshman year, Nova is now showing he can win a game with his arm when asked.

"I think some of the things you saw are some of Gary's athleticism on display," said head coach Kyle Flood. "He's tough to get down in the pocket. He's a quarterback, who is going to have some escape-ability to him. He's not necessarily a running quarterback, but he is an athlete."

In the 7-0 start for Rutgers, Flood said one of the most encouraging signs is the ability to win games in different ways. In the air, on the ground or with tough defense, the versatility of the Scarlet Knights is beginning to stand out.

"We have the ability to find ways to win in different ways," Flood said. "Yesterday, it was the defense and the special teams doing a good job in the first half of keeping us in the game and keeping the game within reach – only down 10 after not really performing very well on offense in the first half was a big accomplishment for us.

"… Generally if you look back on it at the end of the year, there's going to be some type of adversity, some type of moment that you're going to have to fight through. Not every game goes the way you planned it to. The teams, ultimately, that finish the regular season with really good records, have come through games like this. I felt like this was an opportunity to show that we could do it and the players certainly responded."

Rankings Rise

Flood will continue to downplay the significance of rankings with five games still left to play, but said the climb is beneficial for national exposure.

The Scarlet Knights (7-0, 4-0) jumped two spots to No. 15 in the coach's poll this morning and are expected to do the same in other polls to be released.

"There's no negative to winning and I think, certainly, it creates more national exposure," Flood said. "There's no negative to it. That's for sure. I just think from a functionality standpoint for us as a football team and a football program, to get wrapped up in those things seven weeks into the season really serves no purpose. These things can come and go very quickly."

Getting Out Health

Flood said no players that played last week are hurt enough to miss time, he thinks. He also expects injured players like kicker Kyle Federico to heal up and potentially play against Kent State.


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